Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - June 11, 2012

From: Palmerton, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of vine in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have several vine plants growing in my deck planters from last season. The leaves are 9 pointed, it looks more like 7, but there are 2 little points at the very bottom of the larger leaves. When the leaves are younger, they look identical to pot leaves. The seem to start at 5, then go to 7, then mature at the 9. At the end of the season they grow "flowers", which again look similar to pot. They are little white bundles, but look like they have small white "hairs". There is no real identifying odor. The vines grow pretty fast, and like to reach out and grab things then twist around it. I have tried to find this on the internet for over a year with no luck. Any ideas? Pics can be provided.

ANSWER:

You can find native vines that grow in Pennsylvania by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and choosing "Pennsylvania" from the Select State or Province Slot and "Vine" from Habit (general appearance).  This search results in a list of 71 native vines growing in Pennsylvania.  You can scroll through them and read about them.   Most of them have accompanying photos.  For the ones without photos on the species page, you can scroll to the bottom of the particular species page to the section called Additional Resources and click on the Google link for the species to find photographs on the Internet.  When I scrolled through the list I found these species that looked vaguely like the description you gave:

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Parthenocissus vitacea (Hiedra creeper).  Here are photos and more information from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness.

Since the plants are growing in your deck planters (did you plant them there?) I suspect that the vines are not vines native to North America.  Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America so we are not going to be much help identifying non-native plants.  It is possible that your vines are Cannabis sativa ssp. sativa, since this subspecies is described as being vinelike sometimes.  However, I could find nothing that describes them as twining around objects.  If neither of the two vines shown above are the vines in your planter, I suggest that you take photos of them and visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant ID in Crossville TN
July 12, 2009 - I live in Crossville TN and have found a common plant on hikes in the state park. It has long (1-1.5)narrow leaves that are green and deep red? What is it please?
view the full question and answer

Difference between invasive Chinese and Japanese wisterias and native wisteria
September 12, 2014 - Dear Mr or Ms Smarty Plants, Is there any way I can tell for sure if my wisteria is native? I bought it at a place when it was in bloom that sold a lot of native plants. I Would like to know for sure...
view the full question and answer

Identification of small plant with lavendar flower
May 07, 2011 - I have something growing in my yard and pasture that for some odd reason is growing all over the place. I never noticed it being this abundant before. I'm not sure if it's listed as a wild flower or...
view the full question and answer

Identity of mystery plant in non-native commercial forage mix
December 17, 2013 - Dear Smart One, I use a commercially prepared, fortified, chopped forage based on a mix of orchard and Timothy grasses. The bags are shipped in from out of State. However, I have been finding short s...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with orange flowers in Mississippi
June 01, 2013 - Saw beautiful Orange colored flowers on a tree in Jackson MI. Can't find one that is hardy in our zone. It looked to be about the size and shape of an apple tree. What could it be?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.